Digest of terms

absolutism

the view that specific principles (e.g. life is sacred), rules (e.g.: do not kill), or values (e.g. justice) are to be regarded as invariably true and valid, permitting no exceptions, irrespective of circumstances - a view associated with deontological theories and Kantian ethics. Time and place, country, culture and context, make no difference. Absolutes may be regarded as self-evident and known by intuition, or may be thought to derive directly from a source which is itself seen as having absolute authority. For theists, God is considered as the ultimate reference point and authority for everything, the absolute of all absolutes. Some religious believers go on to claim that this quality of absoluteness also belongs to their scriptures, their religious leader or founder, a special religious council, or individual conscience. Others warn of the danger of mistaking human expression, which is fallible, for God. An inherent problem with 'absolutisation' is how to decide between competing claims, e.g. one set of scripture as over against another, or one authoritative teaching as over against another, unless some use of critical reasoning (which may also be understood as 'God-given') is admitted.

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